Email marketing question about what is or isn't Spam


Just have a question. On one of my websites I’ve been personally emailing people to talk to them, get them to become a user of my site. I’m wanting to ramp this up in order of magnitude.

So instead of emailing 200 people in a month I’m thinking more like 20,000. I wouldn’t consider it spam before since I sought out individual people, personalized the emails, and actually wanted to get in touch with them have them become a member(it’s free) etc.

Assuming we automated this process somehow and sent 500 emails a day out instead of 5 would this be considered spam? Thanks in advance for the help!

Yes, it’s still spam.

The fact that you personally select the recipients and personalise the message doens’t change the fact. Nor does the number of recipients. The point is that you are sending these messages to people with whom you have had no previous relationship. It would be different if they were existing customers, or suppliers, or people who had signed up for a newsletter. But that’s not the case (as far as I can see).


Ok, thanks. Well if that’s the case then spam isn’t so bad. How could you ever contact someone about an opportunity or something they might be interested in?

When I think of Spam I think of Viagra offers or Nigerians trying to scam me. To go truly Spam free would assume you had a pre existing personal relationship with everyone you’d ever want to right?

Well, I didn’t say anything about it being a personal relationship. More often it’s a business relationship. But I take your point. How would ever make contact with people who you had no previous contact with?

One answer is by inviting your prospective customers (or whatever) to contact you - usually by putting your contact details or an enquiry form on your website or in your advertising. Their message to you is not spam, because you have invited them to send it, and your reply wouldn’t be spam, because the fact that they have contacted you means you now have a relationship with them.

By the way, the fact that you want to contact people about “an opportunity they might be interested in” doesn’t make it any less spammy. With any sales message, you could argue that it’s for something the recipient might be interested in. There’d be no reason to send it otherwise.


Good point, sales is sales. And majority of the time mutually beneficial. Yeah, I could definitely do an offer or inquiry form. The only difference is this is
basically a community type project. No charge, just trying to get people to participate.

So we’re wanting to personally contact a high amount of influencers by reaching out to them. Would be impossible to run ads to these people directly, an email
just seems to make sense. If they think the community looks like something they would like then they can go for it, if not, no big deal.

I just don’t want to get in trouble I guess. And the word ‘Spam’ sounds off warning bells.

The Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing includes this definition of spam:

To indiscriminately send large amounts of unsolicited e-mail meant to promote a product or service. Spam in this sense is sort of like the electronic equivalent of junk mail sent to “Occupant”.
In some countries, the sending of unsolicited e-mails is prohibited by law.

Well, guess that sums it up. Tight rope to walk indeed.

Indeed. But at least you questioned it yourself and try to figure out what’s right from wrong and I hope that it is clear.

There are loads of people like you, doing what you wanted to do, thinking that they’re doing right and not knowing that they’re spammers… and when they find out, they feel offended and hurt! They can’t learn from their error, they think that since their intentions were the best, it wasn’t spam! But it was :slight_smile: